The investment summit, on which the development of Saudi Arabia depends, was overshadowed by the murder of the journalist, large investors decided not to take part
The future investment initiative (FII) summit, which Saudi Arabia recently held, sought to set the discussion on topics such as robotics, smart cities, and infrastructure as a motivation for foreign investment. However, the echoes of the Khashoggi case meant that the summit did not reach its first objectives, since it did not have the participation of many European and American leaders and investors, which made the summit more a regional event than anything else.
Leer en español: Arabia Saudita: el asesinato de Khashoggi perjudica la economía
The case of the journalist killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey did not go unnoticed at the summit. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, referred to the events on the day of the inauguration, while Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salmán called it a terrible act that saddened all Saudi citizens in a speech at the opening ceremony. That was it, the summit continued with its regional assistants and mid-range delegates from different western companies.
Despite these factors, the Saudi government was able to finalize more than 25 agreements that are valued approximately in 50 billion dollars, according to Bloomberg. These agreements range from petrochemicals to the extraction and use of metals in the region. The arrangements do not follow Prince Salman's "Vision 2030" project, which seeks to diversify the country's economy and detach it from its extreme dependence on oil.
The summit lost participants because of the controversy
Of course, this is a consequence of the international political pressure that Saudi Arabia has felt in relation to the Khashoggi case. Since the case took a media stir, very important figures of the international economic panorama withdrew their participation, as it is the case of the executive director of Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi; the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim; and some journalists, including the director of The Economist, Zanny Minton Beddoes, according to El País.
However, the most devastating absence at the summit could be that of Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens. This leader, who unlike many others, not only declined the invitation to the summit, but publicly decided to explain why he did not go, set a precedent by saying that it is the companies that are in charge of moving forward and take the flag of the change, as he commented on CNN Business.
Despite these intentions, his absence cost the country of the Middle East a delay in the negotiation of a power plant of around 20 billion dollars, according to Bloomberg, and which is an integral part of the "Vision 2030" project.
The summit, therefore, failed to reach its primary objectives of presenting Saudi Arabia as a country striving to get away from oil, knowing that it cannot always be the world's largest producer of this fundamental element for world economies. However, the country continues to be a focus of economic interest for the West, despite the difficult sociopolitical situations in which it is involved.
LatinAmerican Post | Jorge Ovalle
Translated from “Arabia Saudita: el asesinato de Khashoggi perjudica la economía”
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